4 April 2018

King, a poem by Rethabile Masilo

They’ve covered miles of terrain between Selma
and Montgomery, walking in an exodus from fire
that burns us. It is like there will be no other chance
for them to walk again, bear down on the doors
of town hall positioned between phallic pillars,
as the heat of the sun fails to deliver what suns
are meant to share, behind the back of the march,
now out of Alabama and onward unto Tennessee
and beyond to the Carolinas—a whole world walks
with them, bundled in wishes and demands they carry
on their shoulders, till at last they climb the stairs
and drop their concerns at the door. For dogs and boots
have no way of stopping that kind of gift, the diversity
in their one face, not hoses and not even knuckles
or spit can change anything. And since that door
is locked, they make a gate into the next century.
The rest of the story is what would finally unfold.

Canopic Publishing, 2016

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